Does Pork Butt Need A Rub?

As a die hard bbq’er, you probably spend a lot of time sticking to the traditions when it comes to smoking your meat. A lot of what we do is ingrained into us by how we learned to cook, what we have read on the internet and what we have seen from our peers. The tradition of barbecue often takes over, even when not needed.

Enter The BBQ Rub

One of the most traditional thing in barbecue is the rub.

A smoke simply can not get off the ground without a decent and often elaborate rub. At least this is what most people think and in some cases it is true.

For some meats, a rub is s a very good thing because of the way it is consumed.


Chicken is a classic of barbecue bit it is not necessarily the best tasting meat, it needs some help. With chicken, a nice rub will flavor the skin and the meat itself. Chicken alone does not have much flavor and is best uses as a sponge to soak up the smoke, barbecue spices and flavorings.

Beef Brisket

Brisket would not be brisket without a nice, well seasoned bark. The meat itself has flavor but a nice crust on the outside can certainly take it to the next level . With brisket, you can taste the difference between an elaborate rub and a simple salt and pepper treatment.

So Does Pork Butt Need A Rub?

So, does pork butt need a rub?

If your intent is to pull the pork, then no, it really does not need a rub. You will be breaking the bark or crust up anyway, so why go to the effort to create one. Sure, once broken up, it will distribute some flavor to the rest of the meat but this would be something that you can do better and more accurately with a finishing sauce.

Another thing to consider is that a pork butt is a very thick cut of meat. Anything that you can do to facilitate deeper penetration of the smoke will do wonders for making a better end product. A rub, especially one that uses brown sugar, honey or even mustard is only going to form another barrier to smoke. Add a rub and chances are that you will get less smoke penetration.